Smoky Days: Okra and Corn Chili + Smoked Trout

Our roof almost came off the other night. The wind here makes the walls shake and it screams through cracks we didn't ever know were there. I guess it's because the house sits atop a mountain... But wherever you live, wintertime definitely calls for comfort foods, and chili is a good contender. Here is a recipe I wrote for down-home Okra and Corn Chili. You'll also find a recipe for Maple Smoked Trout. If you don't have a smoker you can always use the barbecue. They sell little smoking boxes for them.

For the chili it's very important to use high quality smoked hot paprika (imported from Spain), it gives the smoky flavor to the dish, and cheap paprika just won't do.

You will need time for the chili to simmer, so plan ahead.

Smoky Okra and Corn Chili

2 onions, chopped 2 green bell peppers, chopped 1 hot pepper, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 20 pieces okra, stem end removed and cut in half 1 can (28oz) tomatoes, crushed 1 can (16oz) black beans 1 can (16oz)red beans Corn from 2 cobs or 1 can (12oz) 2 cups vegetable stock 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika salt + black pepper sour cream + hot sauce

optional: 1 lb ground beef

Pour 4-5 tablespoons of oil in a large pot. On medium heat cook the onions, green peppers, hot pepper and garlic for 10 minutes. Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 4-5 hours. Serve with garlic bread, a dash of sour cream and hot sauce.

Serves 6-8


Maple Smoked Trout

A couple of weeks back we went trout fishing, caught a number, and maple smoked them. It's easy to smoke your own stuff, and once you acquire a smoker (or build one) the possibilities are endless; fish, shellfish (mussels), cheese (think smoked cheddar) or meat (we made moose jerky!). This recipe is for about 8-12 medium sized trout and is made in a two-day span because you need to brine your fish.

I included variations for spicier or saltier brine. You can split the recipe in half if you have fewer fish.

Day 1

Sweet Brine 6 cups water 1 cup maple syrup 1 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup coarse sea salt 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 oz whisky ground black pepper


Spicy add 2-3 tablespoons sambal oelek

Salty instead of 1/4 cup salt, use 1/2 cup instead of 1 cup brown sugar, use 1/2 cup

In a large bowl mix your brine ingredients together. Put your washed, cleaned and prepared trout into the brine and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2

Clean and rinse your trout. Dry them with paper towels. Hot smoke for about 1 hour at 150F with maple or apple wood. If using a barbecue it will proably take less time, more like 30 minutes.

Serve as is, with lemon quarters. I went an extra step and made a pâté by mixing some trout with mayo, sour cream, lemon and herbs. On the side; croutons and horseradish sauce.